Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Power Of Community - Lessons from CUBA

!Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

1st May 2012, The Cuban People on the March in Havana
Yesterday saw a huge mobilisation of the Cuban People on International Workers' Day. Visible proof that the Cuban Revolution is still on the March and remains a source of inspiration to all those struggling across the planet for a future based on justice, dignity and equality for all.

I haven't the time today to analyse at length the development of the Cuban Revolution over the past half a century. However, I do want to point out that one of the key reasons for it's survival against all odds and against all predictions is the sense of community that exists throughout the island. The Power of Community is one of the fundamental lessons that the Cuban People have to teach us.

In 1991 I travelled to Cuba as a 'Brigadista'. I was based at Campamiento Julio Antionio Mella working to increase Agricultural production at the hieght of the crisis caused by the collapse of Cuba's main trading partner, the Soviet Union. The crisis was given a name 'The Special Period in a Time of Peace' or 'period especial'. Essentially, this was a complete economic collapse including the complete loss of Oil Supplies from the Soviet Union. By 1991/92 power cuts lasting hours were a feature of daily life across Cuba, water shortages, severe food rationing, the complete collapse of public transport systems, in other words the sort of crisis situation that only usually occurs during Total War.

Yet out of this crisis the Power of Community in Cuba - produced something wonderful - not only did the Cuban Revolution survive it became a model of how the whole planet can survive the problem of 'Peak Oil'. Cuba became a model for the future of the whole of Humanity. Since the 'Special Period', a sustainable local food production system has emerged. Urban Permaculture Projects sprang up across Havana, and organic horticulture now provides the bulk of ordinary peoples calorific needs. One of the champions of explaining how Cuba was able to achieve this is Roberto Perez. I had the honour of speaking with Roberto at a meeting organised by the Birmingham Transition Town group in December 2008. Anyone, concerned about the growing global environmental and ecological crisis that capitalism has produced needs to learn from Cuba's solutions. All Socialists and all Green activists will benefit from listening to the wisdom and the Power of Community that Roberto Perez represents.

Long Live the Cuban Revolution!

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